Let's do lunch
PUBLISHED: 11:55 14 August 2008 | UPDATED: 15:20 20 February 2013
Let's do lunch with Mink Kapferer, who takes Pangbourne Parish Councillor Kay Lacey to the newly-refurbished Royal Oak at Yattendon...
Who did you take?
Kay Lacey, a Pangbourne Parish Councillor. Kay has been instrumental in organising the extension to the Pangbourne Village Hall, liaising with the Environmental Agency to reduce flood risk to the area and regularly visits the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston as part of her civic duties. She's had to sign a confidentiality agreement as part of the Official Secrets Act about that, but that doesn't stop us chatting about everything else under the sun (or the rain in our case).
Outside it was a soggy August afternoon, but inside it was almost like Christmas. Greeted by the comforting smell of wood smoke and the warm, cosy glow of the flickering orange fire, we sat in the old pub part, next to one of the fabulous fireplaces with 16th century beams overhead and freshly-painted Farrow and Ball walls all around us.
Tell us about the menu...
When we finally got to give the menu a solid going-over, we were both so impressed, our table fell silent for a few minutes. There's an à la carte menu as well as a pared-down lunch menu and you can order from both, cherry-picking whatever takes your fancy. You'll find trad English fare and fresh seafood dishes - sophisticated simplicity itself.
What did you both choose?
For her starter, Kay plumped for the Tian of Crab and Avocado from the à la carte menu and the pan fried fillet of sea bass for her main. I dove into the pan-seared scallops (from the à la carte menu) and for my main, the lunch menu's roasted pork tenderloin.
What did you drink?
Being a nervous new driver on wet roads, I went for the boring Diet Coke option. Kay studied the wine list for, ooh, all of two seconds, before ordering a glass of the Sauvignon Blanc Reserva, De Gras 2006/07 from Chile (£4.60), which she said was delicious. Had I been staying the night in one of the gorgeous rooms upstairs, I would have put away at least one bottle of the crisp, dry and flinty San Vincenzo IGT, Anselmi 2006 from Italy (£25).
How many marks for presentation?
Ten our of ten. The food, the setting - everything was spot-on.
How did you rate your starters and main courses?
Very, very highly indeed. The cauliflower purée that came with my scallops was just scrumptious and Kay's sea bass was cooked to perfection. All hail Graham Kelly, the new chef!
Were you tempted by the desserts?
Tempted? Well and truly caught - hook, line and sinker! But neither Kay nor I managed to completely polish off our respective lemon crème brulée and sticky toffee pudding - the portions were just too generous.
What was the service like throughout the meal?
Attentive but not annoyingly intrusive - the waiting staff achieved that rare, perfect balance.
Would you recommend it to your friends?
Without hesitation! In fact, by the time we were leaving, one of Kay's friends had turned up with her school holiday brood. Coincidence or super-efficient bush telegraph? Well, they do say good news travels extra fast in the country...
The Royal Oak, The Square, Yattendon. Reservations: 01635 201 325